Waite Park Asks For Public Input Over Use of Body Cameras
WAITE PARK -- Waite Park police are asking for your opinion as to whether officers should use body cameras.
During Monday's city council meeting, a community input session was introduced for residents to voice their opinion, which is required by state law, on the use of body cameras.
Police chief Dave Bentrud says the system they are looking into would allow officers to use smart phone technology to capture data.
“It's a comprehensive way for us to capture video, recorded statements as part of our case building, and do it at the same time and be a part of the same system," says Bentrud.
The cameras would cost the department about $27,000 for 18 cameras with an annual cost of $18,000 to allow for data storage, replacement cameras every 30 months and software.
The use of body cameras have been a controversial topic bringing up questions on privacy. Bentrud says while their may be instances to release the footage, such as an officer involved shooting, the data will remain strictly private.
"If the underlining video is part of criminal case, that could be brought into a trial, but otherwise the vast majority will be private data and not released to the public," says Bentrud.
No action was taken this evening. The council plans to meet with the police department later this month to discuss the program and policy.
An official public hearing on the topic will be held at the June 26th meeting. The council will then decide whether to move forward with the program at a following meeting.